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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shame on Illinois Budget Impasse, Forces Program Closures & Staffing Cuts At 'Lutheran Social Services' of Illinois

DES PLAINES, Ill.Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), the largest statewide provider of social services, today announced program closures and staff cuts throughout Illinois due to the state's inability to pass a budget for the past seven months.
"The state's budget deadlock has severely challenged LSSI's ability to provide services to those in need," said Mark A. Stutrud, LSSI President and CEO. "Over the past months, LSSI has relied on a bank line of credit and available resources from our foundation to compensate for the state's inability to pay its bills. Currently, we are owed more than $6 million by the state for services delivered. After seven months, we can no longer provide services for which we aren't being paid."
The seven-month-long-and-counting budget impasse forced the organization to cut back programs and restructure services as LSSI seeks to bolster resources for the 149-year-old faith-based nonprofit's continued viability. In consultation with LSSI's Board of Directors and an independent advisory group, LSSI created a plan to restructure its services and shore up resources for the viability and continuation of the organization.
In all, over 30 programs are closing, and more than 750 positions are being eliminated, or 43 percent of LSSI's total employees. As a result of these closures, approximately 4,700 people will no longer be receiving services from LSSI. [A list of programs and communities where services were eliminated is below.]
"We are eliminating spending that is most linked to non-payment of services and redesigning our administrative support around a newly restructured organization," said Stutrud. "Our plans respond to this year's budget impasse and an anticipated lingering state financial crisis over the next several years. We're doing this at a great cost to LSSI and those affected by our services. It has been an agonizing process, particularly its impact on our clients and their families who depend on us for their care, as well as our employees whose jobs were eliminated. Many of our employees are direct care personnel who have built relationships and strong trust with the people they serve."
The programs that saw the largest cuts were those helping seniors, including home care. Programs eliminated were case management for seniors, adult protective services, and LSSI's Adult Day Care Center in Moline. Although LSSI is receiving some payment through Medicaid, the organization has been accruing several hundred thousand dollars a month in unpaid bills for home care services since July 2015, when the state's budget cycle normally would have begun.
LSSI also has not received payment for programs reimbursed through the state's general revenue fund and other state agencies. These include residential rehabilitation for adult drug and alcohol treatment in Chicago and Elgin, community counseling services, and prisoner and family programs at several locations.
LSSI is grateful for the support of ELCA churches statewide, other faith communities, and donors. LSSI is committed to continuing services that include: mental health, alcohol and drug treatment; Head Start; services for at-risk families; residential programs for adults with developmental disabilities, foster care, affordable senior housing; home care, and programs that help children maintain connections to their incarcerated parent. 
"These decisions were the result of a thorough and painful process," said Stutrud. "We know this will impact clients, their families, our employees, and communities throughout Illinois. We made these choices with a long-term view of the organization and its mission, and ultimately the ability to continue serving people."
About Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Founded in 1867, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is a statewide, nonprofit social service agency of the three Illinois synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). For more information, visit LSSI.org and LSSI's Facebook page.
Programs Affected
Residential Rehabilitation for alcohol and drug treatment Behavioral Health Housing Opportunities, Chicago 
Elgin Residential Rehab, Elgin 
Men's Residence North, Chicago 
Men's Residence West, Elgin 
Social Detox, Chicago 
Women's Residence, Chicago
Mental Health Counseling for children, youth, adults and families Community-based Counseling, Berwyn 
Community-based Counseling, Des Plaines  
Community-based Counseling, Downers Grove 
Community-based Counseling, Elmhurst 
Community-based Counseling, Mendota 
Community-based Counseling, Prospect Heights 
Community-based Counseling, Wheaton  
Dixon General Counseling, Dixon 
West/Northwest Suburban Counseling, Villa Park
Youth Services School-Based Counseling Services, Sterling 
Youth Emergency Shelter, Nachusa 
Re-entry Services for former prisoners and their families Connections, Chicago 
Employment Skills School, East St. Louis 
Homeward Bound Supportive Housing, East St. Louis 
River Bend Re-entry, Alton
In-home Support Services for seniors Intouch Home Care, Canton (serving Fulton County
Intouch Home Care, Chicago (serving Chicago South and Southern Cook County
Intouch Home Care, DeKalb (serving DeKalbKendallLa Salle Counties) 
Intouch Home Care, Freeport (serving StephensonJo Daviess Counties)  
Intouch Home Care, Moline (serving Rock IslandHenryMercer Counties) 
Intouch Home Care, Peoria (serving PeoriaMarshallStarkTazewellWoodford Counties) 
Intouch Home Care, Rockford (serving WinnebagoBooneOgle Counties)
Respite Services supporting veterans and their families Legacy Corps, Rockford 
Legacy Corps, Streamwood
Adult Day Care for seniors and adults 18+ with disabilities Intouch Adult Day, Moline
Comprehensive Case Management and Protective Services for seniors Case Coordination, Sterling 
Adult Protective Services, Sterling

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